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7 May

Sexuality is engrained in our transnational media culture. This paper will identify various media texts and evaluate one text in more detail, focusing on sexual ideologies and cultural boundaries that the text pursues to push beyond the limit of socially accepted.

Sex does more than sell these days. It defines our world. In my Youth & Sexuality class last year, we viewed so many aspects of youth adolescents. One young couple in the movie Juno discovered the thrill of parenthood in their teens. Although not uncommon, there still seems to be a social dilemma created when a teenage mother tries to make it in the world. This topic is so integral to teen culture, MTV has developed a reality-TV show, 16 and Pregnant:

‘MTV’s 16 and Pregnant’ is an hour-long documentary series focusing on the controversial subject of teen pregnancy. Each episode follows a 5-7 month period in the life of a teenager as she navigates the bumpy terrain of adolescence, growing pains, rebellion, and coming of age; all while dealing with being pregnant.

Each story offers a unique look into the wide variety of challenges pregnant teens face: marriage, adoption, religion, gossip, finances, rumors among the community, graduating high school, getting (or losing) a job. Faced with incredibly adult decisions, these girls are forced to sacrifice their teenage years and their high school experiences. But there is an optimism among them; they have the dedication to make their lives work, and to do as they see fit to provide the best for their babies.
http://www.mtv.com/shows/16_and_pregnant/season_3/series.jhtml, visited 5/2/2011

In mainstream media, companies have pushed the envelope of what has become acceptable. The Italian Ice Cream maker, Federici, released and series of print advertisements that burst open the realm of socially acceptable media.
These three ads portrayed various aspects of members of the Catholic clergy in compromising advertisements. The first ad I looked at contained two male priests that were close to an intimate kiss. Behind them is an ornate wall, such as in a place of worship or church. One priest holds the ice cream while another holds the spoon. One priest’s next is exposed in a very seductive manner. The text of the ad reads, “We believe in Salvation.”

The second of these ads shows a nun in a habit holding the ice cream. The text of the ad reads, “Immaculately Conceived.”

The third of these ads shows two scenes. First, the priest and nun are close to an intimate kiss. In the second scene, the priest and nun are scantily clad in a sexual position. The texts read, “Miss Temptation,” and, “Submit to Temptation.”
Social culture, especially in the U.K., is respectful of religion. The governing organization that regulates marketing In the United Kingdom, U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), ordered the Italian ice cream maker to never run the ad again. The ASA received six complaints about the ads, and felt the images portrayed were significant enough to have offended a large population of Catholics.

There are so many facets of socio-sexual norms broken in these advertisements. “Priests and nuns just don’t do that.” It is scandalous and sacrilegious. The texts play on holy verbiage and violated the protected sanctity of a person’s right to have a religion or faith free of ridicule. To incredibly violate this social norm is to violate the people of the nation. In Federici’s case, a country lashed back because the sensuality they tied into their ads violated the freedom they had been given to explore religion and sexuality.

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